Revered as a symbol of fertility, sexuality, purity and childhood, beloved as a children’s pet and widely represented in the myths, art and collectibles of almost every culture, the rabbit is one of the most popular animals known to humans. Ironically, it has also been one of the most misunderstood and abused. Indeed, the rabbit is the only animal that our culture adores as a pet, idolizes as a storybook hero and slaughters for commercial purposes.
Stories Rabbits Tell takes a comprehensive look at the rabbit as a wild animal, ancient symbol, pop culture icon, commercial “product” and domesticated pet. In so doing, the book explores how one species can be simultaneously adored as a symbol of childhood (think Peter Rabbit), revered as a symbol of female sexuality (e.g., Playboy Bunnies), dismissed as a “dumb bunny” in domesticity and loathed as a pest in the wild. The authors counter these stereotypes with engaging analyses of real rabbit behavior, drawn both from the authors’ own experience and from academic studies, and place those behaviors in the context of current debates about animal consciousness. In a detailed investigative section, the authors also describe conditions in the rabbit meat, fur, pet and vivisection industries, and raise important questions about the ethics of treating rabbits as we do.
The first book of its kind, Stories Rabbits Tell provides invaluable information and insight into the life and history of an animal whom many love, but whom most of us barely know. As such, it is a key addition to the current thinking on animal emotions, intelligences and welfare, and the way that human perceptions influence the treatment of individual species.